My latest Live Action post:
Over the weekend, Susan Saulny had a report in the New York Times on “centrist women” who are turning against the Republican Party, and I must say, I’m a little disappointed. Not that the article’s a hatchet job, mind you—that’s what I’ve come to expect from the Times. No, I’m disappointed that it’s such a shoddy attempt; I’ve come to expect much more effort and creativity from America’s premiere propagandists.
From a “randomly generated list of voters,” Saulny interviews a handful of self-described moderate or Republican women who claim that the birth control debate currently raging in the media has destroyed whatever intention they have of voting for the GOP candidate in November:
- Mary Russell, retired teacher, “evangelical Christian and ‘old school’ Republican who supported Mitt Romney “just two weeks ago” but is now considering Barack Obama: “We all agreed that this seemed like a throwback to 40 years ago. I didn’t realize I had a strong viewpoint on this until these conversations. If they’re going to decide on women’s reproductive issues, I’m not going to vote for any of them. Women’s reproduction is our own business.”
- Fran Kelly, retired public school worker who voted for John McCain in 2008: “Everybody is so busy telling us how we should act in the bedroom, they’re letting the country fall through the cracks. They’re nothing but hatemongers trying to control everyone, saying, ‘Live as I live.’ If Republicans would stop all this ridiculous talk about contraception, I’d consider voting in November.”
Read the rest at Live Action.
My latest Live Action post:
Each presidential candidate had his ups and downs in last night’s CNN Republican debate, but former House Speaker Newt Gingrich had the evening’s most memorable moment. Moderator John King posed the following question:
Since “birth control” is the latest hot topic, which candidates believe in birth control and if not, why?
The audience’s raucous booing made clear they weren’t interested in the press’s latest talking point, and neither was Gingrich. He turned the tables beautifully:
I want to make two quick points, John. The first is there is a legitimate question about the power of the government to impose on religion activities which any religion opposes. That’s legitimate. But I just want to point out, you did not once in the 2008 campaign, not once did anybody in the elite media ask why Barack Obama voted in favor of legalizing infanticide. So let’s be clear here. If we’re going to have a debate about who is the extremist on these issues, it is President Obama, who, as a state senator, voted to protect doctors who killed babies who survived the abortion.
Right on cue, Naureen Khan of National Journal sprang into action to defend the president and the press:
According to Politifact, an independent fact-checking organization that looked into similar claims made by former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum on the campaign trail, Obama voiced his opposition to the new legislation as a state senator because it would have given legal status to fetuses and would thus have been struck down by the courts, and because Illinois already had laws to ensure infants who survived abortions would be given medical attention.
WALLACE: You don’t think the New York Times is a liberal organization?STEWART: No.WALLACE: Pushing a liberal agenda?STEWART: The New York Times, no. I think they are to a certain extent. Do I think they’re relentlessly activist? No. In a purely liberal partisan way? No, I don’t.
STEWART: Because I think their bias is towards sensationalism and laziness. I wouldn’t say it’s towards a liberal agenda. It’s light fluff. So, it’s absolutely within the wheelhouse.
STEWART: You can’t understand because of the world you live in that there is not a designed ideological agenda on my part to affect partisan change because that’s the soup you swim in. And I appreciate that. And I understand that. It reminds me of, you know — you know, ideological regimes. They can’t understand that there is free media other places because they receive marching orders.
STEWART: In polls, who is the most consistently misinformed media viewers, the most consistently misinformed? Fox. Fox viewers. Consistently. Every poll.
So we have three Pew studies that superficially rank Fox viewers low on the well-informed list, but in several of the surveys, Fox isn’t the lowest, and other general-interest media outlets — such as network news shows, network morning shows and even the other cable news networks — often score similarly low. Meanwhile, particular Fox shows — such as The O’Reilly Factor and Sean Hannity’s show — actually score consistently well, occasionally even outpacing Stewart’s own audience.
Meanwhile, the other set of knowledge surveys, from worldpublicopinion.org, offer mixed support for Stewart. The 2003 survey strikes us as pretty solid, but the 2010 survey has been critiqued for its methodology.
It asked three questions: “Is it your impression that the U.S. has or has not found clear evidence in Iraq that Saddam Hussein was working closely with the al-Qaida terrorist organization?” “Since the war with Iraq ended, is it your impression that the US has or has not found Iraqi weapons of mass destruction?” And whether, “The majority of people [worldwide] favor the US having gone to war.”
My latest NewsRealBlog post:
The fireworks in Wisconsin over Gov. Scott Walker’s efforts to rein in government employee unions aren’t over yet. Unions have declared war on any Wisconsin businesses that won’t publicly oppose Walker, and the budget repair bill has been blocked by an activist judge, turning next week’s state Supreme Court election into a proxy battle on the issue.
Oh, and we’re not done with the onslaught of violence and vitriol on behalf of the unions and the educational establishment, either. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Wisconsin resident Katherine Windels is now facing felony charges for death threats she made against state Republican lawmakers:
The subject line of the second email was: ”Atten: Death Threat!!!! Bomb!!!” In that email, she purportedly wrote, “Please put your things in order because you will be killed and your families will also be killed due to your actions in the last 8 weeks.”
“I hope you have a good time in hell,” she allegedly wrote in the lengthy email in which she purportedly listed scenarios in which the legislators and their families would die, including bombings and by “putting a nice little bullet in your head.”
According to the criminal complaint, Windels told investigators “I sent out emails that I was
disgusted and very upset by what they were doing.”
Asked if she intended to follow through on any of her threats, Windels told the investigators “No,” according to the complaint.
At Hot Air, Ed Morrissey reveals two key details about the story that the Sentinel left out: first, Windels is a pre-school and kindergarten teacher, and second, this isn’t the first time she’s done something like this—she sent the emails using the name and email address of Lisa Patterson, a woman who she allegedly sent threatening text messages to in October 2010.
My latest NewsReal post:
Have you ever wondered how lefty talking head Eric Alterman can possibly argue that the media is biased to the right? Well, his latest column in the Daily Beast provides a pretty good window into his methodology—moving the goalposts so far that even covering certain conservative candidates is an act of journalistic malpractice.
Alterman spends most of the piece mocking Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) for a series of historical gaffes, suggesting that any presidential campaign by “an individual so obviously mentally and emotionally challenged” would be a hopeless “exercise in vanity and self-delusion,” which the press is only wasting its time by covering:
Michele Bachmann is “reportedly” ready to form a presidential exploratory committee in early June. Shame on me (and this website) for paying the slightest bit of attention to this foolish and ridiculous spectacle, but here we are […]
What does it say about our national media that this woman is considered a serious person? What is she doing being taken seriously on Meet the Press? Why in the world does ABC’s George Stephanopoulos think it important to find out whether she’s a fan—I kid you not—of Lady Gaga?
And how can any reporter expect anyone, anytime to take him or her seriously if they treat the “Bachmann for President” boomlet as anything but a symbol of a political system that has run itself off the rails of sanity?
If a history of stupid remarks disqualifies a politician from serious coverage, then how does Alterman explain the media’s slobbering love affair with Barack Obama, who’s got his own record of gaffes? Or maybe his running mate, Joe Biden?
To be sure, a candidate’s grasp of history is fair game for judging a would-be president, but the task of journalists is to judge who is running, not who should run. And like Bachmann or not, her potential bid for the presidency is a legitimate story, and she can’t be ignored.
My latest NewsRealBlog post:
The enemies of liberty may be gaining steam in Egypt right now, but Hollywood doesn’t seem to notice. No, to them we’re still our own worst enemy. Mike Fleming at Deadline reports that no less than seven potential film projects based on cyber-anarchist Julian Assange and his whistle-blowing organization WikiLeaks are under consideration:
The Hurt Locker screenwriter Mark Boal and Management 360 have partnered with financier/producer Megan Ellison to option The Boy Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, an article about WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange in The New York Times Magazine written by the newspaper’s executive editor Bill Keller. Ellison, an exec producer of True Grit, will finance development through her Annapurna Pictures and she, Boal and Management 360 will produce. Boal might write the film, but that will depend on if he has time […]
His is just the latest in a growing number of Julian Assange/WikiLeaks movies that should continue to swell as more books about the controversial figure get published. I’ve heard DreamWorks is circling Inside WikiLeaks, a book that will be released February 15. It is written by Daniel Domscheit-Berg, Assange’s number 2 at WikiLeaks who defected because he wanted WikiLeaks to apply journalistic discretion in the dispersal of secret government documents while Assange wanted to release as many as he could get his hands on.
There is also the $1.5 million memoir by Assange. Movie/TV rights will be handled by CAA for lit agency Peters Fraser & Dunlop, and rumors are that The Bourne Ultimatum director Paul Greengrass might come attached (insiders said that’s not definitive). Among the other Assange movies that have already mobilized, Universal Pictures will finance and distribute an Alex Gibney-directed documentary on Assange and WikiLeaks that will be produced by Gibney and former Universal Pictures chairman Marc Shmuger, and HBO is in talks with BBC to collaborate on a pic that would be based partly on Raffi Khatchadourian’s New Yorker article No Secrets: Julian Assange’s Mission for Total Transparency. Another documentary, WikiLeaks: War, Lies and Videotape has been picked up to be distributed by Zodiak. There are two more books available for movies: WME is handling Megaleaks by Andy Greenberg, and there is also WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War On Secrecy is coming from David Leigh and Luke Harding, two reporters from UK’s The Guardian who were the first to receive leaks from Assange and then shared them with Der Spiegel and The New York Times.
All of this is to be expected, of course—Hollywood has a track record of presenting the United States government as the bad guy in our conflicts abroad, from Vietnam onward. They pretty consistently bomb at the box office, but Hollywood keeps churning them out anyway, their left-wing ideology drowning out whatever good business sense or understanding of what the audience wants they may have.
Bill Clinton. Keith Olbermann. Chris Matthews. Dick Durbin. Scott Feldstein. Jay Bullock. David Frum. Paul Krugman. The New York Times. Jonathan Alter. Bob Kerrey. James Clyburn. Joan Walsh. Robert Brady. Jon Justice, Jane Fonda, Michael Moore, Patton Oswald, Elizabeth Banks, Roger Ebert, John Legend, Josh Groban. Markos Moulitsas. Stuart Shapiro. Patrick Kennedy. Chris Liebenthal. John Kerry. Ed Schultz and Bill Press. Clarence Dupnik. Aaron Mehta.
This is but a partial list of politicians, journalists, bloggers, and celebrities who have chosen to use the horrific shooting in Tucson – which left six people dead, including a little girl, and a Congresswoman fighting for her life – as an opportunity to condemn conservatives and Republicans for allegedly inflammatory rhetoric. Some explicitly claim figures such as Rush Limbaugh or Sarah Palin are culpable for Jared Loughner’s actions, while others insinuate they are dangerously cultivating the sort of hatred and fear that could trigger similar acts in the future. *
Never mind that the perpetrator’s mentally-disturbed, violent tendencies are unrelated to politics. Never mind that the political indicators in his record, if anything, suggest hostility to God and an affinity for radical leftism. Never mind that his hatred of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords had nothing to do with her or her party’s policies.
Jared Loughner thinks in gibberish, processes what he sees and hears in gibberish, and acts on gibberish. Yet we’re asked to hang our heads in shame about an alleged cause-effect relationship that leads from Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin straight to Loughner’s trigger finger?
Bull. I get the intent behind respectfully critiquing this line of attack as Allahpundit does, but doing so misses the point. The point is: this record has already been played time and time again. It’s broken. The people using this to smear conservatives know better. Some of the more shameless ones, like Frum and Feldstein, admit as much—they acknowledge Loughner’s real motives yet proceed to say we should use the opportunity to bash the Right’s “dangerous, irresponsible rhetoric” anyway.
None of this is sincere. We know because these leftist lies about conservatives are nothing new. When a Communist circulated Obama-as-Hitler posters, conservatives were blamed. MSNBC ran selective footage of a black man with a gun, to characterize him as a potentially trigger-happy white supremacist. Leftists have publicly advocated impersonating Tea Partiers. The media misrepresents polls to defame Tea Partiers. Phony quotes attributed to prominent conservatives are disseminated without hesitation.
We know because we have a decade’s worth of hatred, terrorism, anger, bigotry, dishonesty, and violence-inciting from scores of left-wing activists, celebrities, journalists, and public officials on the record. We have violence committed by leftists against conservatives, and violence committed by radical Islamists, for which leftists have a different standard. The online savagery of leftist commenters is the stuff of legend.
If any of these lying, two-faced, murder-exploiting bastards were even remotely concerned about the “tone” of American politics, they would have piped up when it was their side—their fellow travelers, their elected leaders, their favored media personalities—doing the “coarsening.” But with rare exception, they either ignore it outright, make excuses for it, or tell bald-faced lies about their side’s filth coming from “marginalized, unimportant people whose voices don’t carry too far.”
Sure. “Marginalized, unimportant people” like prominent MSNBC commentators Schultz and Olbermann. Like Rep. Alan Grayson, who Obama has showered with praise. Like the current Senate Majority Leader. Like Sen. Dick Durbin. Like Sen. Robert Byrd. Like Rep. Keith Ellison. Like the late Ted Kennedy. Like former DNC chair Terry McAuliffe and numerous other Democrat officeholders. Like former President Jimmy Carter. Like current President Barack Obama. Nah, those “voices don’t carry too far” at all…
You want to know why America’s got problems? Why our political discourse seems so degraded, so futile? Re-read the names comprising the first paragraph, and you’ll have one of the biggest answers. The answer isn’t that we don’t scrupulously follow arbitrary rules of decorum. The answer is that the conduct of bad people in government, in the media, and in the blogosphere has gone unchallenged for far too long. We criticize their misconduct one day, yet we smile at them and act as if it never happened the next. We’re so eager to demonstrate our reasonableness, our maturity that we keep reaching out to the other side, no matter what they do. It never seems to occur to us that they might be giving us a glimpse at their souls.
But these cretins—so consumed by hatred and bias, so devoid of morality, that they’ll exploit murder to hurt their political enemies—bring shame upon their professions and upon our country. Treating these smears like they’re sincere concerns legitimizes them, and guarantees that we’ll see more of this defamation in the future.
Enough. It’s time to stop pretending the participants of this smear campaign are decent people who’re simply misguided. It’s time to stop extending olive branches. To stop pretending it’s respectable to cast votes for them. To stop giving their blogs and publications our attention and business.
And given the topic, let me be perfectly clear, to preempt anyone who would consider twisting my words against me: this is not a call to violence. The only just response to even evil speech is to exercise your own freedoms of speech and free association. To respond with physical force would be a failure of our human capacity for self-control, a violation of our foes’ God-given, unalienable rights, a betrayal of our respect for the rule of law as citizens in a free society, and a vote of no confidence in our ability to solve our problems through the public discourse and the democratic process.
This much is true: American political discourse is sick. How we react to the murder-exploiters among us will reveal whether or not we’re finally serious about healing it.
* UPDATE: The second paragraph has been modified from its original version to more accurately reflect the caveats made by some of those named. In the comments, Scott Feldstein requests that I remove his name entirely. That’s not going to happen, but his complaint did convince me that this change was in order, because I value truth and accuracy regardless of which political agendas they advance or hinder.
There are a couple noteworthy things in Los Angeles Times‘ report on the storm brewing over GOProud’s involvement in CPAC. First, the conference has lost its biggest name yet: the Heritage Foundation. Second comes a new indication that tolerating gay people isn’t the problem: “CPAC has refused to schedule a panel about traditional marriage.” Third, the paper quotes Family Research Council president Tony Perkins as emailing to supporters: “Conservatives and homosexuals cannot coexist in a movement predicated on social values.” But that’s not how the quote appears in FRC’s strong public statement: “Conservatives and homosexual activists cannot coexist in a movement predicated on social values.” Either Perkins changed his tune for public consumption, or the LA Times is lying. I’m gonna guess it’s the latter.
At NewsReal, David Swindle and the infamous Ryan Sorba are debating, “should gays be part of the conservative movement?” David’s correct as far as the debate goes, but frankly the whole conversation draws time and attention away from what the GOProud controversy is really about: not gay rights, but whether or not the radical gay agenda is infiltrating the conservative movement.
Speaking of confusing the issue, Andrew Breitbart’s take is more than a little disappointing: “even though I’m sensitive to the social conservative movement […] the treatment that they’re giving gay conservatives at CPAC deeply offends me.” Y’know what offends me, Andrew? Blatant misrepresentation of what’s going on. What treatment? Which gay conservatives have been mistreated? Details, please.
Tom Maguire and Aaron Worthing have already pointed out that the study counts as “misinformation” beliefs that are really matters of opinion or arguably true claims.For example, the study says the “correct” view is that most economists estimate the stimulus to have created several million jobs; but the study’s own proffered sources for this claim, which are not impressive, suggest that it is exaggerated. In the absence of an actual survey of American economists–and I am not aware of any–how would we know which belief is correct? If we take most respondents to be offering their views on the effects of the stimulus rather than their views on the results of polls of economists, the “incorrect” view is even more defensible.But leave this problem aside. The other defect of the study is that it tested for false (or supposedly false) views that conservatives were more likely to have than liberals. It tested for only one false view that anyone could have said in advance would be disproportionately held by liberals (the view that it had been proven that the Chamber of Commerce used foreign money to finance political ads). Meanwhile it tested for several myths with distinctive appeal to conservatives.A more balanced look at widespread myths would have yielded different results. What if the survey had asked whether air pollution had gotten worse over the last three decades? Or whether Americans’ life expectancies are worse than other peoples’ when differences in lifestyle and crime rates are taken into account? Or whether education spending had gone down during the Bush administration? It would be very easy to construct a survey in which MSNBC viewers turned out to be less informed than Fox News viewers. And just as pointless.